60,000 households in Scotland facing hardship due to HB Reforms

Housing and Communities Minister says that measures 'penalising the very people we should be protecting'

Around 60,000 households in Scotland will face severe hardship due to housing benefit reforms, according to Housing and Communities Minister Alex Neil.

The Scottish Government says that, from April 2011, changes to local housing allowance will mean that 55,000 households will be given nine months 'to either lose housing benefit or move out of their home', and that 7,500 25-34 year olds will lose nearly £55 a week from April when they will 'no longer receive support for their own homes and will be forced into shared accommodation'.

Commenting on the existing reforms and those likely to be introduced in the forthcoming Welfare Reform Bill, Mr Neil said –

[i]'There needs to be welfare reform but these measures are penalising the very people we should be protecting. It's slash and burn economic policy, cutting too fast, too far and too quick and will force people out of their homes.[/i]

[i]In Scotland, we will be working with our third sector groups and local government to ensure we can continue to take the strongest possible case to the UK government to think again. We will also be protecting household budgets with innovative home-grown policies such as school clothing grants, freezing council tax, free heating help and abolishing prescription charges.[/i]

[i]The important thing now is for Scotland to have more powers to boost our strategy for economic growth and help people back into work, for example through control over Job Centre Plus so we can streamline health, employment and training services.' For more information see the news release on housing benefit on the Scottish Government website.'[/i]

For more information see the housing benefit news release on the Scottish Government website.